Would you rather use a stock browser or third party app?Anna Scantlin - Contributing Editor
As a self-titled internet guru, I’m always on the web whether it’s on the computer or on my phone. When it comes to browsing the internet, we tend to be more spoiled now since the days of dial-up are long gone (“Moooooom, can you please make Tommy get off the phone? I want to use the internet!”) and the speeds of modern-day internet are blazing fast. When it comes to our phones, several browsers have been made in order to enhance our experience, and each comes with their own unique aspects. Ranging from increased speeds to better functionality, which browser has become your go-to for your browsing needs?
Speed is my ultimate determining factor when it comes to which browser I use most on my phone. Other important factors are how smoothly the browser runs on my phone, if the browser can integrate my bookmarks from my computer, how functional the browser is, and how easy it is to navigate. I’ve tried out most of the big name mobile browsers, and most have their pros and their cons. After spending a decent amount of time with each, I have narrowed it down to two favorites (with others trailing not far behind).
I don’t usually use the stock browser on my phone, although I will say that Safari is by far my favorite stock browser out of all the platforms I’ve used, with BlackBerry being my least favorite. Android’s stock browser is okay, but I prefer to use an alternative browser when using an Android device as well. Safari seems to have quick load times and is fairly simple for me to navigate. The one major downside to Safari (for many people, but not me) is that it doesn’t support flash. So far I have never owned a phone that would run websites that use flash very well, but I also haven’t gotten my hands on owning a newer device in about a year now. Safari generally loads the pages as they intended to be seen, which I like. A lot of mobile browsers tend to automatically switch to mobile view, which is more practical but not the way I prefer. Safari is currently my second favorite mobile browser to use.
Safari for my iPhone 4S was my first, up until a few months ago when Google released Chrome for iOS. After installing Chrome I have experienced much faster load times, and I even find it easier to navigate than Safari. Of course, Chrome also has that downside of not having Flash, so for many this browser would be a big thumbs down automatically. What draws me in to Chrome is that the transitions are smooth, the tabs are organized and easy to access from any screen, and the Google search is integrated with the address bar. Chrome has been my go-to browser since I downloaded it, with Safari being used mostly for old bookmarks that I’ve been too lazy to move. I also use Google Chrome on my PC so it’s nice that my bookmarks transition between my computer and my phone.
Another browser that I am fond of is Dolphin Browser by MoboTap, Inc. It’s a very well put-together browser that simplifies the way one browses the internet. I used to be an avid user of Opera Mobile (or Opera Mini – I used both) until I discovered Dolphin, and then Dolphin was then replaced by Chrome. Dolphin is a well-known and well-received browser, at least in the iOS app store, with a 5-star rating. The rating of Dolphin Browser even exceeds the rating of Google Chrome, and it only has a difference of a few reviews. It seems that Dolphin Browser has been a favorite to many, but I’m interested to see how Chrome competes as time progresses.
Really, the only browser I could see myself not recommending is BlackBerry’s stock web browser. On older BlackBerrys especially it seemed that I couldn’t even find an alternative that worked very well, but functionality has (seemingly) improved on newer models.
Which do you prefer, readers? Are you a fan of your device’s stock app, or would you rather use something different? Let me know which browser suits you!